by Moody Adams As the dark, freezing waters of the Atlantic crept slowly up the decks of the Titanic, John Harper shouted, “Let the women, children and the unsaved into the lifeboats.” Harper took his life jacket–the final hope of survival–and gave it to another man.
It was the night of April 14, 1912, a night for heroes, and John Harper met the challenge. Though the waters swallowing him were bitterly cold and the sea about him was dark, John Harper left this world in a brilliant blaze of glory.
Two hours and forty minutes after the Titanic struck the iceberg, she sank beneath the icy waters. Hundreds huddled in lifeboats and rafts, and others clutched pieces of wood hoping to survive until help came. For fifty terrifying minutes the cries for help filled the night.
During those final minutes a man clinging to a board drifted near John Harper. Harper, who was struggling in the water, cried, "Are you saved?” The answer returned, "No." Harper shouted words from the Bible: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." Before responding, the man drifted into the darkness.
Later, the current brought them back in sight of each other. Once more the dying Harper shouted the question, “Are you saved?” Once again he received the answer, “No.” Harper repeated the words of Acts 16:31, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved." The drowning Harper released his hold and slipped into his watery grave. The man he sought to win put his faith in Jesus Christ. Later he was rescued by the S.S. Carpathia's lifeboats. In Hamilton, Ontario, George Henry Cavell is reported to have testified that he was John Harper's “last convert.”
Harper’s last convert was won by Harper’s last words, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.”
There were many heroes on the Titanic, but, helping others as he drowned, John Harper was the last.